Hamster Trivia & History

Hamster Trivia

  • The hamsters native habitat is the deserts of Asia.

  • Golden (Syrian) Hamsters Originated from the Middle Eastern Country Of Syria.

  • In the wild hamsters burrows can be up to 2 metres deep.

  • Hamsters are colour blind.

  • A human year is equal to 25 hamster years.

  • Hamsters got their name from the word ‘Hamstern’ which means to ‘hoard’ in German.

  • Hamsters are very good at escaping from anywhere.

  • A male hamster is called a ‘buck’ and a female called a ‘doe’.

  • Hamsters are allergic to Cedar.

  • Hamsters can only see up to six inches in front of them.

  • Hamsters can drink milk as long as it does not go sour.

  • Because hamsters are desert animals, they like to conserve water and so it is quite normal for them to eat their own droppings so they can save as much water as possible.

  • The gestation period for the female hamster is 16 days.

  • Hamsters can have up to 7 babies at a time.

  • Baby hamsters are called ‘puppies’.

  • Hamsters cannot swim and therefore do not need baths – they clean themselves without any difficulty anyway.

  • Hamsters can remember their relatives.

  • Hamsters can be taught their name and will come to you when you call it.

  • When dwarf hamsters are pregnant, you can determine the sex of the babies. By controlling the temperature in the room where the mother is kept, you can manipulate whether she will have more boys or girls. If you keep her in warmer temperatures, she will have more boys. If you keep her in cooler temperatures, she will have more girls.

Hamster History

The Syrian Hamster or also known as the golden hamster was first described by G.R Waterhouse in 1839. However, the first time a group of hamsters were caught was in 1930. They were caught by Professor I Aharoni who was a zoologist in Jerusalem at that time who spotted them near Alleppo in the Syria desert (hence the name Syrian Hamster).The hamsters were found in a deep burrow which had a mother and 12 babies (puppies).

Unfortunately, when the hamsters were brought into captivity only 3 of the 12 young had survived.

From Jerusalem, scientists took them to laboratories in France, England and in 1938, to the United States. After that hamsters multiplied and over the years they became one of the most popular domestic pets in the world. We now have all different types of hamsters like Albinos, Dwarfs, Russian and Chinese.

All present-day Golden Hamsters in captivity with the exception of a few brought back by travelers and military men are the descendants of that first tiny family found in Syria.

In Syria and other Middle Eastern countries where hamsters are common, the farmers do not only harvest their own fields, they dig into the hamsters granaries as well. In each burrow they find a storage bin which may hold anywhere between 30 and 60 pounds of grain which the hamsters have stored away for the winter.

One of the characteristics of the hamster, like many rodents, is to stuff their cheeks full of food, this is a common hamster activity.